Minnesota is on the verge of officially becoming the 12th state to recognize marriage equality by law. The eleven that are, as of 05.09.2013, official: all six New England states — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont — along with Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, New York, and Washington. (Add to them the non-state District of Columbia.)
Of these eleven established states, all of them attained marriage equality under Democratic governors with the exception of Maine. That milestone in the most northeastern state was achieved through a popular vote, statewide, in the 2012 elections. In the case of Iowa, going back to 2009, it was also under a Democratic governor (as the state is now governed by a Republican).
The common denominator is that these are blue presidential states, leaving the only ones competitive (when Republicans win the presidency) as Ia. and N.H. (When Democrats win the presidency, Ia. and N.H. carry.)
In 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed passage, from the state legislatures, of a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry. (He's going to win re-election this year in part due to his role in relief from Hurricane Sandy.) I, frankly, get the feeling Chris Christie is the type of Republican who doesn't give a shit whether gays can marry … but that he did it for political-party purposes.
Along with N.J., Republicans governing blue presidential base states are: Michigan's Rick Snyder, Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett, and Wisconsin's Scott Walker.
I never liked putting up people's civil rights to a vote. But it was remarkable with what happened in 2012 in the states of Me., Md., and Wash. The movement following in a host of additional states, including this latest with Minn., is remarkable.
I don't live in any of these states. I reside in Mich. And I do not trust Gov. Snyder and the Republican legislatures in Mich. For numerous reasons. And yet I want Mich., the No. 9-ranked state in population (Georgia recently overtook it for No. 8), to join the pack sooner rather than later. This makes me believe one or two things would have to happen over the next couple years: 1) Get marriage equality on the general-election ballot for 2014 (the U.S. Senate race, which will become open due to retirement of Carl Levin, will likely end up a Democratic hold); 2) Get Gov. Snyder unseated by his Democratic challenger.
I tend to think, with other states of such status, N.J.'s Chris Christie would bend to pressure if he were faced with it. And I can't say anything specific with the residents of that state of N.J. on marriage equality. Hell, I can't say too much with my own (though polling, in recent months, revealed that a majority of Mich.'s electorate are supportive), other than my disgust over their 2004 vote.
After Minnesota, I think the next three states to come up with full recognition of same-sex partners having the right to marry will come from California, Illinois, and Oregon. The reason why Michigan and Pennsylvania, to name two states, have Republican governors is because the majority of states have their gubernatorial elections in midterm election years. And these two have a long-running pattern of electing governors belonging to the party opposite an incumbent president of the United States. So, too, does the bellwether state of New Mexico, along with the former bellwether state of Tennessee, and the red presidential base states of Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.
This would be happening even more rapidly if the voters in these blue presidential base states were more conscious of the party holding the governorship. That it actually matters.